Mum-of-six loses her teeth after obsessively eating DIRT to ease stress

A MUM-of-six lost her teeth after obsessively eating DIRT to ease her stress.

Elizabeth Smith Leath started chewing on cups of soil when she was at school to copy with anxiety.

The now 31-year-old was diagnosed with pica when she was 17 – an eating disorder which makes sufferers want to eat non-food items.

This can include paint, dust, dirt and sponges.

As a teen, Elizabeth's craving was so intense she would eat five cups of dirt and soil per day – which has caused her to lose four teeth.

She said: "There's no taste like it. I went to a therapist who told me to grind up wheat thins and eat those because it's a similar texture.

"Sometimes it works until I get super stressed out.

"I'm on medication to help manage it but I still get the cravings. I will go outside, get a cup full of dirt and just sit and chew on it.

"If I can't get dirt, I'll eat sand because it's the closest thing to it.

"It's messed up my teeth, they've really deteriorated, and I've lost four."

The stay-at-home mum, from Iowa Park, Texas, collects the dirt from her garden and eats it outside.

She has tried to keep the habit secret from her children, Dama and Jacob, 17, Sonia, 12, Solee, 11, Rosetta, 10, and Bella, four.

Although her children have never seen her eating dirt, Elizabeth worries they will pick up on her habit as her youngest child, Bella, has started eating ash.

Elizabeth said: "She's got ADHD and it's not uncommon for kids with ADHD to have pica.

"I'm just thinking 'here we go again'. I eat dirt to cope with stress but Bella isn't in a stressful situation.

"She'll eat the ash out of an ashtray. She's the only one of my kids to eat non-food items."

Elizabeth's husband, Russel, 31, tried to get her to ditch the habit, but she hasn't been able to kick it yet.

She added: "I was diagnosed with bipolar first and when I was stressed, my coping mechanism was to go outside and eat dirt.

"I just couldn't stop. I didn't tell anyone until I was 17 and my foster mum caught me and took me to a doctor.

"I told my husband when we were at school and he caught me sat in dirt.


"He wants me to stop because he's worried I'll have internal bleeding or something.

"My youngest children don't know but the oldest have figured it out."

Pica is an eating disorder that sparks long-term cravings for inedible objects.

Sufferers can have the urge to consume all matter of objects, from coins, to clothes, to cigarette butts.

Pregnant women may also experience temporary cravings to eat non-food items.

While the NHS doesn’t outline specific treatment for pica, they do recommend different options from those battling eating disorders.

Cognitive behavioural therapy can be useful for altering the way a patient thinks about a situation, which can help change the way they act.

Interpersonal psychotherapy, which involves talking about the disorder to an expert, can also be helpful.

Dietary counselling and cognitive analytic therapy are among the other options available.

If you have pica syndrome, it’s advisable to visit your local GP to discuss treatment options.

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